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Palm Beach Artificial Reef

Live camera: Palm Beach Artificial Reef construction

What’s the latest… August 2019 update

Construction of the artificial reef is nearing completion. Check out the aerial photo below of the artificial reef construction site, taken in August.

The temporary exclusion zone remains in place and prohibits access to the offshore reef construction site until construction is complete (even when the construction machinery is not on site). For the safety of the community, City Lifeguards are at Palm Beach patrolling the construction exclusion zone.

Palm Beach Artificial Reef Construction – August 2019


Palm Beach, or better known as ‘Palmy’ to the locals, has historically had less sand compared to other Gold Coast beaches which makes it one of our most vulnerable beaches to the threat of coastal erosion. After carefully considering an appropriate solution, the City developed the Palm Beach Shoreline Project, with the Palm Beach Artificial Reef being phase 2 of this project. Phase 1 saw the successful nourishment of Palm Beach in 2017 with over 470,000 cubic metres of clean sand.

From April through to October 2019, the City is constructing the Palm Beach Artificial Reef approximately 270 metres offshore from Nineteenth Avenue between the beach and the existing natural reef.

Site extent view of Palm Beach Artificial Reef.


What it looks like

The reef will be constructed of large rock boulders quarried in South East Queensland and transported to site using barges. The boulders range from smaller ‘core’ rock to as large as 8 tonnes each, and will be strategically and carefully placed to form a structure 160 metres long and 80 metres wide. Once constructed, the reef will be 1.5 metres below the average water level at its highest point.

Section view of Palm Beach Artificial Reef showing rock sizes.

How it works

A lot of investigation and effort has gone into the design of the artificial reef including coastal data capture, computer modelling and wave tank testing to see how the beach behaves not just above the water line, but underneath the water too!

Here on the Gold Coast sand naturally moves north along the coast as a result of the predominant south easterly wave direction. This innovative underwater structure will influence the surrounding waves and currents to temporarily slow the northerly transport of sand around the reef. This will hold the additional sand delivered through the previous beach nourishment works for longer, and promote a long term increase in sand along vulnerable sections of Palm Beach.

The increase in sand will be located just offshore and not necessarily always visible to beach users. But rest assured this sand will act as a buffer to protect Palm Beach from future erosion events. Once sand has moved beyond the reef, it will naturally continue to move up the coast.

And for all the surfers out there, surf amenity has been considered in the design process – ensuring that the vision of the City’s Surf Management Plan is pursued.

Area benefited by the Palm Beach Artificial Reef.


Check out our video below for more facts about the Palm Beach Shoreline Project.





Further information

For more information on this project, please go to the City of Gold Coast website.

If you have any further queries about the project, please email